May 1, 2021 - SACRAMENTO – With what threatens to be another destructive wildfire season on the horizon, the California Senate unanimously approved legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to improve conditions during wildfire-related utility power shutoffs and ensure local governments receive critical resources.
“Shutting off the power to prevent wildfires has become an unfortunate reality here in California,” Sen. Dodd said. “But doing so carries significant costs. My bill ensures these de-energizations are classified as local emergencies, allowing local agencies to recover expenses from available funding.”
Senate Bill 52 follows a series of de-energizations from PG&E over the past two years that were intended to prevent fallen power lines and damaged equipment from sparking fires. It makes clear that such public safety power shutoffs are eligible for official emergency declarations, freeing financial assistance for local government under the Emergency Services Act.
SB 52 is supported by Napa County, California Fire Chiefs Association, Fire Districts Association of California, Regional Council of Rural Counties, Disability Rights California and the California Association of Public Authorities. It was approved Thursday by the full Senate on a 36 to 0 vote.
“Public safety power shutoffs, when implemented with accuracy and precision, can be an effective tool to reduce the chance of wildfires,” said Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon. “But these events result in disruptions across communities and the need for increased coordination between local agencies to respond even when no wildfires result. Making it clear that a PSPS constitutes an emergency will provide much-needed relief to local governments like Napa County, which can incur significant costs when power shutoffs are announced.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.
Source: Senator Bill Dodd